1

Here are my constructions:

  1. I should like to know whether it is possible to purchase this workshop manual.
  2. I should like to know whether it is possible to buy this workshop manual.

So my question is, should I use 'purchase' or 'buy'?

Also, am I missing any articles in this letter?

Full context:

Dear Sir or Madam,
I have a question concerning workshop manuals for Pontiac. Manual for this car model was previously only available on the website at: [...]. On the website was information that manual provides overview of [engine model] engine.

I should like to know whether it is possible to purchase this workshop manual.

Thank you for your time and I am looking forward to your answer.

  • Is there a reason that one seems better than the other to you? – user6951 Feb 26 '15 at 14:37
  • Give us a bit more context. It's nigh on impossible to tell you which is better. Rule of thumb: "purchase" is a bit more formal than "buy". – JMB Feb 26 '15 at 14:37
  • 1
    Related, from English.SE: Is “purchased” more formal than “bought?” – apsillers Feb 26 '15 at 14:39
  • In another matter, I would like to know is much more common and less stuffy, at least in American English. – user6951 Feb 26 '15 at 14:39
  • That sounds like a good match for purchase. Also we don't do general proofreading on this site, but you need an article before a singular count noun, ie your first two uses of 'manual'. I suggest the. And your use of 'overview', for which I suggest an. Note you have a before 'question' which is correct. – user6951 Feb 26 '15 at 14:49
1

"Purchase" and "buy" mean the same thing. Either sentence is fine. "Purchase" is a little more formal.

BTW In the full text you gave, you're missing some articles it should be:

Dear Sir or Madam, I have a question concerning workshop manuals for Pontiac. THE manual for this car model was previously only available on the website at: [...]. On the website was information that THE manual provides AN overview of THE [engine model] engine.

I should like to know whether it is possible to purchase this workshop manual.

Thank you for your time and I am looking forward to your answer.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.